February 19, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 45

Day 45 At Sea. Last night we encountered severe thunder storms, heavy rain, lightning, and gusty winds. Or at least that is what I am told. Being in an inside cabin I hear nothing and see nothing. Just fine with me.

Most of the day temperatures have been in the mid 80's with cloudy skies. Several times it looked like it was going to rain but it didn't. The seas are pretty calm with only a light chop. There isn't even enough roll for the ship to talk to us. I spent much of the day listening to speakers.

My first lecture this morning was presented by the reef captain that has been on board for several days. The Australian government sets the rules for which ships require reef captains along the 2000 mile reef. Ships above a certain size, ships of certain types, and ships containing certain cargoes are required to have reef captains when navigating anywhere near the great barrier reef. Essentially the rules catch all cruise ships, all commercial freighters, and some private vessels. The reef captains themselves are provided by a private company, and retained by the shipping lines as needed to comply with the law.

In some cases they get on and off the ships from a pilot boat, at other times they are dropped on or picked off by helicopter. It is not uncommon for them to remain on a ship for 4 or 5 days, and to remain away from home for a month or more, primarily going from one ship to another. A much more demanding schedule than harbor pilots that we frequently see in many ports.

The next lecture covered the history of grand travel from the 19th century thru modern times. More so in the past than today, world travel was only affordable to the wealthiest of families.

The last speaker of the day talked about some sailing myths, and the origin of many phrases that have come from the sailing world.

When we get to Indonesia, many of the crew will get a few hours off to see their families. Other crew members are having their family visit them on the ship. In the case of cabin stewards, they only get time off when their work is complete. I have been spreading the word for several days to other passengers to forgo having their rooms made up on the days that their room steward may be with their families. I was told it is not sufficient just to use the "Privacy Please" indicator, each guest must write a note and stick it to their cabin door.

When I first told Agung that I didn't want him making up my room it brought the biggest smile to his face. The word finally began to spread rapidly today, and many doors now have notes, of course the final decision for each crew member schedule is made by the supervisors.

I also tried to convince Oliver and Jeremy that we would tend bar for ourselves so they could have some extra time off, but they doubted the beverage manager would go for that.

The fire drill for the crew was held as scheduled this morning. Another time I wish I had my camera to capture the crew in full gear headed to the "test fire". An area with artificial smoke that blocked all visibility.

We are expected to arrive in Darwin tomorrow at 10 AM. Currently the forecast is for temperatures in the upper 80's with a chance of showers. Better than the 100+ temperatures that were predicted several days ago.